Boeing scandal: Second whistleblower Joshua Dean dies

Former quality auditor at Boeing supplier, Spirit AeroSystems, and famous whistleblower Joshua Dean has died after being infected with a sudden, intensified lung infection.

Spirit AeroSystems whistleblower Joshua Dean succumbs to intensified lung infection. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo(REUTERS)

The 45-year-old lived in Wichita, Kan., where Spirit is headquartered.

His aunt, Carol Parsons, is the one who confirmed his death, after he spent two weeks in a critical condition.

Josh’s mother earlier shared updates on Facebook, saying he was “fighting for his life” and had even suffered a stroke, per The Seattle Times.

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Spirit spokesperson Joe Buccino shared condolences: “Our thoughts are with Josh Dean’s family. This sudden loss is stunning news here and for his loved ones.”

In 2019, it was Josh who had the ball rolling by claiming that the 737 MAX series had been ignored in the case of crucial manufacturing defects by the Spirit leadership.

He testified in a shareholder lawsuit that was initiated against Spirit and lodged a complaint with the FAA. The Spirit fired him in April 2023, which then initiated the Department of Labor to charge Boeing for aviation safety concerns.

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Parson narrated that the whistleblower went through a downfall from hospitalization with breathing difficulties to ending up with an infectious lung condition and MRSA. However, the doctors had done all they could, including ECMO and dialysis, but his state was getting worse inevitably, and amputation was considered one of the options.

Parsons said, “It was brutal what he went through,” and “Heartbreaking.”

Barnett had died from a ‘self-inflicted gunshot wound’

Another Boeing whistleblower, John ‘Mitch’ Barnett, was found dead in March. Barnett’s apparent suicide has spurred speculation.

Local police reported that he had “a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Brian Knowles, Josh’s lawyer, expressed, “Whistleblowers are needed. They bring to light wrongdoing and corruption in the interests of society. It takes a lot of courage to stand up.”

“It’s a difficult set of circumstances. Our thoughts now are with John’s family and Josh’s family.”

The Wichita native was a mechanical engineer, who identified severe defects in MAX production, including issues with the aft pressure bulkhead and tail fin fittings. He flagged the issue to FAA investigations.

“After I was fired, Spirit AeroSystems [initially] did nothing to inform the FAA, and the public,” he wrote in the FAA complaint.

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FAA replied, “The investigation determined that your allegations were appropriately addressed under an FAA-approved safety program.”

“However, due to the privacy provisions of those programs, specific details cannot be released.”

Following his termination, Josh briefly worked at Boeing Wichita before moving to another company.

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